Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Restaurant Impossible - Starlite Restaurant and Pizza

Photo - Food Network
Tonight on the season 13 premiere of Restaurant: Impossible, Robert Irvine and his crew are in West Orange, New Jersey to makeover Starlite Restaurant and Pizza.   In this ambush episode, the owner Patty's son reached out to Restaurant Impossible for help.  Patty has worked in the restaurant since she was 13 years old and hasn't made a profit in ten years.  She has also cashed in her retirement and mortgaged her home to support the restaurant.  The restaurant has a dirty kitchen and a staff that is unwilling to change, including Patty.

As I normally do with Restaurant: Impossible episodes, I searched around the Internet to read stories, comments and reviews about Starlite Restaurant and Pizza to get an idea of how the restaurant is doing since Robert Irvine visited, and here is what I found (note - all reviews are post Restaurant: Impossible):

Positive Reviews:
  • "After ordering our food, the owner Patty came over, introduced herself and let us know they were going to be on an upcoming episode of restaurant:impossible. The pizza was very good, as were the drinks. Patty and the rest of the staff were great"
  • "So happy with the great new renovation and look of Classic Starlite, after the Restaurant Impossible experience. Great Service and Staff, and amazing new interior. Glad they kept the classics on the menu, as the Baked Ziti is still the best in the world!!"
  • "The renovation brings a new life into starlite! The new menu is great and the pizza is still the same great thin crust that we all loved. The staff was friendly and the desserts are to die for! Check it out if you haven't, I will be back soon!"
  • "Had a family birthday dinner here last night and everyone thoroughly enjoyed! The pizza has been delicious and consistent for over 30 years. If you like a thin pie, this is your place!"
  • "Returned to Starlite after a long absence, the restaurant t was redone and it is a great Improvement. The food is the same...excellent pizza and welcoming waitstaff. The owner is very welcoming and the prices are very reasonable. Good food in a very casual setting"
  • "Portions were large and the food was tasty. Lastly I thought the inside was nicely done and our waiter was really nice and attentive. We will return."

Negative Reviews:
  • "Had the chicken parm which was good. My girlfriend ordered the chicken fingers. She asked for bbq sauce, they said they don't have any. She asked for any other sauce, they said all they have was ketchup. So ketchup on chicken fingers, don't think so. Our gentleman friend ordered the Italian hot dogs & did not like it. He said the hot dogs were microwaved. I would not recommend this place to anyone. Good luck"
  • "I thought Starlite would become a better restaurant after Restaurant Impossible redid the place. Boy was I wrong!!! It is cleaner, tho. The staff was still rude and unknowedeable about the new menu and food. I think Robert Irvine should come back and see what has happened since he left. Even the pizza that I loved has changed."
  • "Met a friend for lunch. Restaurant was empty yet the waitress took her time. Very overpriced and mediocre food. "
  • "To start off, the restaurant has just reopened after a reno and there are wilted, dead flowers as we walk in. The floral carnage continued at our table where we found more dead flowers. The food was God-awful. My wife and I couldn't even finish our meal. Go anywhere'll thank me for it later."
*Reviews from Yelp, Tripadvisor, Google

Other News and Links:
  • The Restaurant Impossible makeover happened in January 2016.
  • Here is the Starlite Restaurant & Pizza Facebook Page and here is their website, which isn't much.
  • The restaurant is advertising its appearance on Restaurant Impossible and they are having a watch party for the episode. (Link)
  • Here is an example of a recent menu (and another) from their Facebook Page.
  • Owner Patty Spango was a Councilwoman of West Orange for some years and is currently Deputy Superintendent of Election for Essex County (Link)
  • A message board post in 2013 discusses Patty Spango owing back taxes, and a comment on this article also talks about back taxes.
    • The current balance (as of 3/8/2016) due for the address of the restaurant is $26,220.99, but it looks like some of that is due in the future. (Link - Need to search by address "993 pleasant valley way")


The reviews for Starlite Restaurant & Pizza are mixed since the Restaurant Impossible makeover, but they are definitely more positive than the reviews the restaurant had right before the makeover. People seem to like the pizza, the staff, and the remodel, while there were also some complaints about the food and service.  The restaurant is currently behind on their taxes, but it seems that has been the case for some time.

UPDATE - Starlite closed in late 2020/early 2021 according to online reviews.  They stopped posting to their Facebook page as well. 

*Visit Our Restaurant Impossible Update Page to see all Restaurant: Impossible updates, and which restaurants are open, closed, or have been sold. Also Like Us on Facebook and Follow Us on Twitter

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